SUDAN WATCH: May 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sudan’s Bashir meets outgoing British ambassador Rosalind Marsden

Thanks to Sudan Tribune for this interesting report.

Sudan’s Bashir meets outgoing British ambassador
Report from Sudan Tribune - Monday 24 May 2010:
May 23, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir met today with British Ambassador, Rosalind Marsden who came to bid farewell at the end of her term in the country.

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) quoted Bashir as praising progress of the relations with Britain, and calling for more support to the bilateral ties and joint cooperation to push forward the peace process and the development in Sudan as key elements to realize stability and democratic transformation.

Bashir also asked the Marsden to convey his greetings to the newly elected British government and affirmed the positive role it could play in supporting his country, referring to its commitments in supporting the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and its role in relieving Sudan debts.

The Sudanese head of state has rarely held meeting with Western officials who have largely avoided him since his indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC). European Union (EU) rules bars its officials from meeting individuals charged by the Hague tribunal.

The ICC urged world officials to sever all "non-essential contacts" with Bashir and other suspects still at large.

Human right groups called on ICC members to boycott Bashir’s inauguration next Thursday saying attending it would be wrong signal to Darfur victims and refugees.

However, the two top U.N. representatives in Sudan will be present at the ceremony according to a statement from the world body in New York. (ST)

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Mysteries of Sudan's Meroe, an empire on the Nile - Exhibition at The Louvre Paris March 26 - Sept 6, 2010

Les pyramides de la necropole royale nord de Meroe
© M. Baud
Les pyramides de la necropole royale nord de Meroe

Meroe, an empire on the Nile
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Exhibition from 26 March to 06 September 2010
During this first exhibition of Meroe, the capital of a powerful empire located on the shores of the Nile, two hundred works illustrate the grandeur of this ancient civilization that combines African influences, Egyptian and Greco-Roman

Located in Sudan, two hundred kilometers north of Khartoum today, the city of Meroe, the capital of the kingdom, is known for its pyramids for kings and queens who have dominated the region between 270 BC and 350 AD

Consisting mainly of loans from museums in Khartoum - the famous gilded bronze statue of a king archer, British Museum, World Museum and the Museum of Liverpool Garstang, museums in Munich, Berlin and Leiden, the exhibition brings together about two hundred works that evoke the originality and power of the empire of Meroe.

The main topics are everyday life, crafts, social systems, the kings and their symbols of power, the role of queens, known as the candaces, cults exist alongside the Egyptian Amun and the Greek Dionysos , the afterlife as conceived by the people of Meroe.

Another section is devoted to the rediscovery of the ruins of the pyramids of Meroe in 1821 by Frederick Cailliaud, as well as archaeological excavations since 2007 Mouweis, site of the Empire heart, by the Department of Antiquities. A selection of objects found during the last three years reflects the action on the ground by the Louvre.

The exhibition has the main sponsorship of Deloitte's sponsorship partner of Ipsen and sponsorship from Lafarge.

In media partnership with Le Parisien, Connaissance des Arts, France 5 and France Info.

Commissioner (s): Guillemette Andreu-Lanoë, Michel Baud and Aminata Sackho-Autissier, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Musée du Louvre

Statue d'un roi archer

© Jürgen Liepe
Statue d'un roi archer conservee au Musee national du Soudan Khartoum, provenant de tabo sur I'lle d'Argo
The Mysteries of Meroe
by SOUREN MELIKIAN
The New York Times News Service
PARIS — Agatha Christie could have invented the story. Imagine another Egypt, with a marked black African component. This is Meroe, in present-day Sudan. In art, ancient Egyptian deities appear alongside others, unknown elsewhere. The Meroitic cursive script has been deciphered, revealing that it transcribes an African language. It is related to others spoken today, like Taman in parts of Darfur and Chad, Nyima in the Sudanese Nuba mounts, or Nubian in upper Egypt and Sudan. For the moment though, it is only beginning to be partially understood. Go see the latest on “Méroé, un empire sur le Nil” at the Louvre until Sept. 6.

In the last three years, archaeological discoveries have given a new face to an enigmatic culture that already intrigued Western explorers 250 years ago. In 1772, the Scotsman James Bruce caught sight of broken obelisks and barely discernible traces of pyramids as he traveled back from the source of the Blue Nile. These, he reckoned, had to be the remains of Meroe, known to Ancient Greek historians.

It was the Frenchman Frédéric Caillaud who, on the morning of April 25, 1822, first saw “a host of pyramids.” He accurately drew and described these in his book “A Trip to Meroe on the White River,” published in 1826. The consequences were disastrous. Antique hunters rushed to loot the site.

In 1834, Giuseppe Ferlini destroyed several pyramids. As he blew up one of these, the Italian dealer laid hands on a fantastic treasure that turned out to have belonged to Kandake (Queen) Amanishakheto. The priceless historical documentation that a proper archaeological investigation would have yielded was pulverized by the explosion and the objects were sold to museums in Munich in 1839, and Berlin in 1844.

Eventually, archaeologists stepped in. The Prussian Karl Richard Lepsius, who conducted a three-year-long campaign, produced an exemplary study of the standing monuments.

In the 20th century, a mission funded by Harvard University and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts worked out the chronological succession of the Kushite rulers of Meroe. Bronzes and ivories came to light, as well as gold jewels inlaid with mother-of-pearl and semi-precious stones that had been overlooked by looters in damaged tombs, and others preserved in funerary caches that had escaped destruction.

More important, the American expedition led by George Reisner opened up a new chapter of cultural history. No one had expected Greek and Roman objects to be found deep in black Africa. The northern necropolis of Meroe yielded a wine vessel in the form of an Amazon figure riding a rearing horse and holding a pouring vessel of the type called rhyton. This is a fifth-century B.C. piece, signed by Sotades, a potter from Athens. Stylistically reminiscent of the Parthenon marble riders, the artefact, fit for kings, was found in a royal tomb. A Roman silver wine cup of the first century A.D. from Italy turned up in the landfill of another pyramid.

In the last three years, dozens of objects beggaring belief have shown that the Meroitic Kingdom was in contact with most northern and eastern Mediterranean lands. Wine was imported in amphoras of the common pottery type found along the shores of the French Riviera. A precious glass flask with a marvered pattern, alternately turquoise and black, that is typical of the finest Syrian production were recovered at Sedeinga.

The greater surprise is the culture of Meroe itself, derived from Ancient Egypt and yet profoundly different.

Art here says more than the incompletely decrypted texts in the syllabic script adapted from the Egyptian demotic (i.e. popular) alphabet.

A tall beaker in blue glass painted with polychrome scenes deals with a very Egyptian theme. Offerings are brought to the god Osiris and an inscription in golden capitals urges in Greek — the language imposed on Egypt after Alexander’s conquest in the fourth century B.C. — “Drink and may you live [long].” The cartoon-like humor makes one wonder whether this might be of Meroitic rather than Egyptian make. Either way, it points to a distinctive Meroitic love of a comical touch in serious subjects.

A sense of fun is conveyed by countless Meroitic objets d’art. The small head of a ruler in turquoise frit found on the urban site of Meroe is unlikely to have been molded by the potter with a flattering intention. The puffed-out cheeks, the thick lips and globular eyes make it a perfect three-dimensional cartoon.

This ironical strain was cultivated from early times on. A turquoise frit mask, which may have once been part of an amphora, depicts a woman (rather than a man as suggested in the exhibition book) with a laugh on her closed lips. It is reminiscent of fifth-century B.C. Cypriot sculpture, with which it may be contemporary.

Derision crept into the most solemn scenes carved in sandstone on the Egyptian model. Queen Amanishakheto, receiving the breath of life on a stele from Naga dating from the late first century B.C. or early first century A.D., seems to be amused. The goddess, too, gives the impression of enjoying the fun of it all, whether or not this was the artist’s intended message. Greater drollery is conveyed by the apish look of the ram-headed god Amon excavated at Djabal Barkal. The body, carved out of granite, has the hieratic posture of early Egyptian art but the animal head has a human expression of repressed hilarity. The intention to belie the austerity demanded by the cannon seems clear.

If any doubts remain about the comical effects sought in much of Meroitic art, painted pottery should dispel them. A beaker from the urban site of Meroe is decorated with a frieze of raised cobras, their tails rhythmically wiggling and their dilated eyes appearing to express concern about the precarious balance of the solar disks perched on their heads. The scene would not look out of place in the French satirical weekly “Le Canard Enchaîné.”

Meroitic humor went together with somber Expressionism. The monumental statue of the god Sebiomeker discovered in the Temple of Isis at Meroe has the hieratic posture of Egyptian gods, but everything else is alien to Egypt. The ill-formed rigid limbs and the wide-eyed expression of distress give it a curious modernity.

A strange development in Meroitic art around the second or third century A.D. led to a kind of Cubist Expressionism. The head of a man excavated at Argin is its ultimate masterpiece. The angular geometricism and the extreme simplification parallels a similar trend in the art of Ancient Yemen around that time. The exhibition book, edited by Michael Baud, does not mention the fact, which may reflect contacts between Meroe and the Arabian peninsula.

Many components undoubtedly went into the brew of Meroitic culture. The exhibition book deals with Meroe as if it had been one nation modeling itself on Egypt, with some black African input. The human reality may have been much more complex.

The African contribution is evident in pots such as the stunning black earthenware jar with bulls stylized to near abstraction. Black African ethnic types are represented in a variety of styles, ranging from sophisticated figuration in bas reliefs of the late first or early second century A.D. to artefacts that reproduce Hellenistic models handled in the simplified somber Expressionist manner of the third to fourth century A.D. Such is a scented oil flask from el-Kadata on loan from Boston.

But we know nothing about society in Meroe. The people who molded around the first or second century A.D. the prehistoric looking figures from Muweis and the western metropolis at Meroe; the bronze makers who cast during the same period the small bust of a queen with black African features found in the Temple of Amon at el-Hassa; and the sculptor who carved the bas-relief of Isis in Egyptian style for King Amanitenmomide may have belonged to very different human groups.

The day a bilingual text sufficiently long to give at last a key to the Meroitic language turns up surprises are to be expected. The latest discoveries displayed at the Louvre suggest that it might not be too far off.

Méroé, un empire sur le Nil. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Through Sept. 6.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

W. Sudan, Darfur: JEM leader returned to Libya after being detained by Chadian authorities at N'Djamena airport for 19 hours

CHAD refused entry to Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim on his way back to the battlefield on Wednesday (19 May) ordering him to return to Libya after a 19-hour diplomatic standoff at the country's main airport.

"He is in the air," top JEM official al-Tahir al-Feki told Reuters, adding he was returning to Tripoli after 19 hours on board a Libyan Afriqiyah airlines plane.

Chad's Interior Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said his country did not want JEM passing through: "We have re-established relations with Sudan so we cannot allow these undesirable people to pass through Chad," he said.

Chadian airport authorities had detained Mr Ibrahim, denying him access to Darfur via Chad, a JEM spokesman told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday.

Authorities at N'Djamena airport refused entry to Mr Ibrahim and a number of other JEM members who had arrived from the Libyan capital Tripoli at 1:00 am (0000 GMT), JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP.

"When they landed, Chadian authorities confiscated their passports and refused to let them into Chadian territory and ordered them to go back (to Libya)," Adam said, speaking by telephone from London.

Adam said Chadian authorities wanted Ibrahim to fly back to Tripoli en route to Doha.

Also, Adam said Ibrahim had refused to return to Libya, as had the crew of the Afriqiyah airlines plane, and the rebel leader was currently sitting inside the aircraft with his retinue at N'Djamena airport.

Authorities in Chad were trying to get Ibrahim and the JEM delegation to the Qatari capital Doha, the venue of recent peace talks between the JEM and the Khartoum government, Adam said.

Source: See related reports below. Note that the BBC reported it is unclear why Mr Ibrahim had travelled from Libya to Chad; JEM had been told after the signing of the February agreement that it was no longer welcome in Chad.

Khalil Ibrahim

Photo: A spokesman from the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said that their leader Khalil Ibrahim, seen here in 2009, is being held by Chadian airport authorities, denying him access to Darfur via Chad. (AFP/File/Ibrahim al-Omari)

Related reports

Khalil Ibrahim Detained By Chadian Authorities in N'Djamena Airport
SRS - Sudan Radio Service - Wednesday, 19 May 2010:
(Cairo) - The Chadian authorities have been holding Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the Darfur anti-government group, the Justice and Equality Movement, at N’Djamena airport since Wednesday morning.

Dr. Ibrahim was on his way from Egypt to his movement’s stronghold in Western Darfur.

A senior JEM official, Mansour Arbab Yonis, spoke to SRS on Wednesday from Egypt.

[Mansour Arbab Yonis]: “The Chadian authorities have been holding him at N’Djamena airport since this morning (Wednesday) since 2 a.m. and he is still being held and he has been denied entrance to N’djamena. We urge the international mediation team, particularly the AU-UN mediator Djibril Bassole to intervene, in order to transport our brother from N’Djamena to the field, but brother Bassole has not taken any serious measures yet.”

Arbab described the move by Chadian authorities as a conspiracy to force JEM to go back to the negotiation table with the government.

[Mansour Arbab Yonis]: “We explain this move as a conspiracy, because they want to force JEM back to the talks by force, without any progress in the mediation. We have informed the Chadian foreign affairs ministry about the movement of the JEM leader, but we were shocked by this weird and new behavior, and we are very sorry about this behavior.”

In January, Sudan and Chad signed a military agreement in Khartoum about border security. According to the agreement, the two countries have deployed 3000 troops to prevent the movement of the each country’s anti-government groups.

The agreement also stipulated that Chad and Sudan will chase out and stop hosting anti-government groups in both countries.

Persistent attempts by SRS to get a reaction from the Chadian authorities were unsuccessful.
Chad denies entry to Darfur rebel leader
The Associated Press (AP) - via The Washington Post - Wednesday, 19 May 19 2010; 12:26 PM by Sarah El Deeb (AP Writer Dany Padire in N'Djamena, Chad contributed to this report) - excerpt:
(Cairo) - Chad's Minister of Interior Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, was coming from Tripoli on a Libyan flight. Security units surrounded the plane and denied him entry into the country.

"He was not welcome in Chad," the minister said.

Ahmed Hussein, the spokesman for the group, said Chadian authorities seized Ibrahim's travel documents and those of his accompanying delegation and told them to return from whence they came.

The flight crew, however, refused to take them back to Libya because of their lack of documents.

"This is a serious precedent," Hussein said, calling the move illegal.

He called on Chad and the joint U.N.-African Union peace mediator to intervene to end the standoff and allow Ibrahim back into Sudan's western Darfur region, the site of a seven-year rebellion that has killed hundreds of thousands. Chad is a common route to Darfur.

Hussein said the decision to stop Ibrahim at the airport was a "conspiracy" to force JEM to return to peace talks, hosted by the Gulf emirate Qatar.

He said Chad can't hand Ibrahim over to Sudan because it would risk "grave consequences."
Darfur rebel chief detained in Chad: spokesman
Agence France-Presse (AFP) - Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - excerpt:
(Khartoum) - Authorities at Ndjamena airport refused entry to Khalil Ibrahim and a number of other JEM members who had arrived from the Libyan capital Tripoli at 1:00 am (0000 GMT), JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told AFP.

"When they landed, Chadian authorities confiscated their passports and refused to let them into Chadian territory and ordered them to go back (to Libya)," Adam said, speaking by telephone from London.

"The pilot refused to let them onboard the plane because they did not have the necessary documents. Khalil and his delegation are currently in Ndjamena airport," Adam said.

Khalil and his delegation had planned to head to Darfur through Chad, the only passage for them into the war-torn region of western Sudan.

Authorities in Chad are now trying to get Ibrahim and the JEM delegation to the Qatari capital Doha, the venue of recent peace feelers between the JEM and the Khartoum government, Adam said.

Those talks were suspended after the JEM accused the army of attacking its positions last month. The government then issued a warrant for the arrest of Ibrahim.

Adam said that by moving the JEM delegation to Qatar, Chad was "pushing the group to sign an agreement which is against the interests of the people of Darfur."

In January, Chad signed an agreement with Sudan to normalise relations, ending years of tension between the neighbouring countries.
Darfur Jem leader Khalil Ibrahim stopped in Chad
BBC News - Wednesday, 19 May 2010 17:15 UK- excerpt:
The leader of Darfur's main rebel group has been prevented from entering Chad while en route from Libya to Sudan.

Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) leader Khalil Ibrahim was told at Chad's airport to return to Libya.

A top Jem official told the BBC Chad is trying to "pressure" Jem into resuming peace talks with Sudan.

Jem has always had strong ties with Chad, but this has changed in recent months as relations between Chad and Sudan have improved.

The passports of Mr Ibrahim and other Jem members were confiscated and the Jem leader is currently at the airport in Chad's capital, N'Djamena.

The Chairman of Jem's Legislative Council Eltahir Adam Elfaki told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that Chad's actions had not been a surprise.

"We have never been not suspicious," he said.

"We always suspect that sometimes deals that may be done behind the corridors would affect the relation [between Jem and Chad]."

In the past, Jem has regularly used Chad as a base for its troops and a transit point for its officials.

But in February, Chad's President Idriss Deby agreed with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to stop supporting rebels in each other's country.

Sudan has long accused Chad of backing rebels in Darfur, while in 2008, Chad accused the Sudanese of helping a rebel group which almost reached N'Djamena, before being beaten back.

It is unclear why Mr Ibrahim had travelled from Libya to Chad.

Jem had been told after the signing of the February agreement that it was no longer welcome in Chad.

And some observers believe that Chad's refusal to admit Mr Ibrahim is a sign that President Deby intends to respect his agreement with Sudan.
Darfur rebel leader caught in airport standoff
Reuters - Wednesday, 19 May 2010
(Reporting by Andrew Heavens; editing by Philippa Fletcher) - excerpt:
(Khartoum) - A Darfur rebel leader was caught in a diplomatic standoff in Chad's main airport on Wednesday after authorities refused to let him enter the country on his way back to the battlefield, his movement said.

Chadian officials met Khalil Ibrahim, the head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), when he flew into the Chadian capital N'Djamena from Libya at 1 a.m. (0000 GMT). They confiscated passports from his party and ordered him to return to Tripoli, JEM's spokesman said.

The showdown is a major setback for the rebel group which in the past had strong links with Chad's leadership and regularly used the country as a base for its troops and a transit point for its officials.

JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told Reuters the incident was part of a "conspiracy" by the Chadian government and international mediators against the movement to force it to return to floundering peace talks with Sudan's government.

Adam said Ibrahim had refused to return to Libya, as had the crew of the Afriqiyah airlines plane, and the rebel leader was currently sitting inside the aircraft with his retinue at N'Djamena airport.

"We would like to make it very clear to the Chadian authorities that we condemn their behavior and we condemn their actions and we urge them to allow Dr Khalil to go to the field," said Adam.

"We have information that the Chadian authorities are in contact with Djibril Bassole (the head of Darfur's joint U.N./African Union mediation team). They are trying to hijack Dr Khalil and the others to take them to Doha."

"If they did that kind of thing they would make a very big mistake."

No one was immediately available to comment from Chad's government or the mediation team.

Adam said Chadian authorities wanted Ibrahim to fly back to Tripoli en route to Doha.

Sudan has asked Interpol to circulate an arrest warrant for Ibrahim in connection with a JEM attack on Khartoum in 2008 but Chadian authorities have not said whether they would cooperate.
Chad prevents JEM leader from entering into Ndjamena orders him to leave
Sudan Tribune - Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - excerpt:
(LONDON) - Chadian authorities have refused to allow Khalil Ibrahim leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to enter into Ndjamena and confiscated his passport.

Khalil was left Egypt yesterday to Libya from where he flow on regular flight into Ndjamena but when he arrived in the Chadian capital the authorities confiscated his passport and ordered him to return to Tripoli, Ahmed Hussein Adam JEM spokesperson told Sudan Tribune.

"They even refused him to leave the plane but the crew said they can’t take him back to Tripoli unless he has valid travel documents," he added.
Here is a copy of a noteworthy comment posted to Sudan Tribune article (see above) entitled "Chad prevents JEM leader from entering into Ndjamena orders him to leave":
19 May 21:34, by silake comba
This behaviour by the Chadian authorities can be interpreted in one case as a preasure on Khalil to go back to the negotiations table in Doha and in this case the Deby regime must have taken this decision either as a result of direct instructions or under preasure from Khartoum or Doha itself. In all cases, it is an unethical conduct and it is a sign of complete lack of morals on the part of Deby who had been rescued, as a regime, by Khail more than once. I think, this incident is expected for a person who is working for others using the Darfurian cause as a truck. At the time when Darfurians of all sectors have been paying the price with soul and blood, Khaill is using these sacrifies to meet the ambitions and interests of Islamists in Khartoum and beyond.He has also been serving the very regime of Deby. This shall be the fate of somebody like Khalil who betrayed the cause of Darfur in favour of his masters in Khartoum and N’jamena.What makes Khalil not to negotiate in good faith is the fact that he is not concerned with or about the Darfurians tragedy. I’m sorry to say this but this is the very truth.
silake Ali Comba, CAIRO
judybamirgi@gmail.com
JEM and GONU Trade Insults Over International Justice
SRS - Sudan Radio Service - Tuesday, 18 May 2010:
(Cairo) - The Darfur anti-government group, the Justice and Equality Movement, says President Omar al-Bashir should comply with the ICC warrant arrest instead of calling on Interpol to arrest their leader.

Recently, the Government of Sudan's Justice Minister, Abdel Bassit Sabdarat, urged international law enforcement agency to arrest Khalil Ibrahim.

Khalil Ibrahim addressed members of the Sudanese community in Cairo on Thursday.

[Khalil Ibrahim]: “This situation reflects Khartoum‘s weakness because I was with them for five years inside Sudan and they attempted to assassinate me more than ten times but all attempts failed. I also visited them in Khartoum and now I'm going back to the front. If they want to arrest me, let them arrest me at the front line.”

In an interview with SRS in Cairo, JEM commander Suleiman Sandal said that the Interpol can not interfere in political crises, it can only solve criminal cases.

[Suleiman Sandal]: “Interpol can not intervene in political crimes, Interpol deals with the normal crimes and our conflict with the government is political and military. It is a legal war and it’s being carried out according to international law and they can’t catch him in Egypt because JEM has a presence in Egypt. Egypt is a free country and can host any movement and any person it likes, but if the government wants Dr. Khalil Ibrahim to face justice, let al-Bashir first go to the ICC because he is accused by the ICC of war crimes.”

Suleiman Sandal was speaking to SRS on Thursday from Cairo.
Darfur rebel leader 19-hour standoff ends
Reuters - Wednesday, 19 May 2010 5:25pm EDT
(Reporting by Andrew Heavens, Opheera McDoom and Moumine Ngarmbassa in N'Djamena; editing by Ralph Boulton) - excerpt:
(Khartoum) - Chad refused entry to a Darfur rebel leader on his way back to the battlefield on Wednesday, ordering him to return to Libya after a 19-hour diplomatic standoff at the country's main airport.

Chadian officials had stopped Khalil Ibrahim, the head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), when he flew into the Chadian capital N'Djamena from Libya at 1 a.m. (0000 GMT).

They destroyed the passports of everyone in his party and ordered him to return to Tripoli, Ibrahim said.

The showdown was a major setback for the rebel group which in the past had strong links with Chad's leadership and regularly used the country as a base for its troops and a transit point for its officials.

"He is in the air," top JEM official al-Tahir al-Feki told Reuters, adding he was returning to Tripoli after 19 hours on board a Libyan Afriqiyah airlines plane.

"We are still hopeful he will be able to return to the field," he added.

Libya also shares a border with Darfur.

Ibrahim said there was a "conspiracy" between the Chadian government and international mediators to force JEM to return to floundering Qatar-hosted peace talks with Sudan's government.

Chad's Interior Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said his country did not want JEM passing through:

"We have re-established relations with Sudan so we cannot allow these undesirable people to pass through Chad," he said.

Khartoum has long accused Chad of supporting and arming JEM during the seven-year conflict. But the oil-producing countries began a rapprochement at the end of 2009, and in February Chad brokered a ceasefire and an initial peace deal between JEM and Sudan's government.

JEM is one of two rebel groups that took up arms against Sudan's government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the remote western region of Darfur and marginalizing its population.

The movement is dominated by the Zaghawa tribe, who live in Darfur and neighboring Chad. Ibrahim has close family links to Chadian President Idriss Deby. JEM also helped Deby fight back two rebel attacks on N'Djamena.

In a statement, Sudan praised the Chadian move against Ibrahim and said it showed Deby's commitment to the agreement not to allow any armed rebel movement to use its territory to launch attacks on Sudan.

"(Khalil Ibrahim) headed toward N'Djamena with no prior arrangements with the Chadian government," the statement added.

Ibrahim said that he refused to be flown to Qatar as proposed by the U.N.-African Union mediation of the faltering Darfur talks.

"They are trying to hijack me and force me to fly back to (Qatar's capital) Doha," Ibrahim said. "But we already signed two agreements and the government breached both those agreements and they are fighting us."

No one was immediately available to comment from the mediation team.
Darfur Group ‘Disappointed’ With Chad
Voice of America (VOA) by Peter Clottey - Wednesday, 19 May 2010 - excerpt:
The Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said its leader, Khalil Ibrahim, was prevented from entering Chad and kept on an airplane for at least 12 hours before Libya came to his rescue.

Ahmed Hussein Adam, JEM’s spokesman, told VOA the group is disappointed with the way their leader was treated.

The United Nations and African Union (UN/AU) chief mediator is mandated to facilitate the return of the JEM leader to Sudan as stipulated in a recent peace accord signed between the group and President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s government.

“Dr. Khalil consulted with the leadership of JEM and finally he accepted the offer of the Libyans on the condition that from there (Tripoli) he will go to Darfur and he will go to Sudan. That action did not remove the responsibility of Djibril Bassole, the chief mediator. Because, still now, we want Djibril Bassole to take that responsibility and to facilitate the arrival or the departure of Dr. Khalil from Tripoli to Darfur,” he said.

Officials in Chad stopped JEM’s leader in the capital, Ndjamena and prevented him from using the airport as a transit point on his return trip to Sudan.

The Darfur-based rebel group said Chadian authorities destroyed travel documents belonging to its leader, as well as that of his entourage, and ordered him to return to Libya’s capital, Tripoli.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sudan court orders vote re-run after YouTube "fraud" film - Al-Turabi arrested - Security Situation in Darfur 17 May

THE security situation in Darfur remains tense following reports on Friday 14 May of fighting in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, between the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Armed Forces, which claim to have killed over a hundred JEM fighters.

In addition, JEM forces have withdrawn from Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. UNAMID patrols to the area have resumed and the Mission is planning a series of assessment missions to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps near Shangil Tobaya to verify the number of people who settled there after leaving New Shangil Tobaya camp last week.

Meanwhile, Sudanese security agents have arrested the opposition Popular Congress Party leader Hassan al-Turabi and closed down his party's newspaper Al Rai Al Shab.

Armed officers detained Turabi in his Khartoum home late on Saturday and took him to Khartoum's Kober prison. SRS spoke to Al-Turabi’s wife, Wisal Al-Mahdi, on Sunday who described what happened.

Reportedly, a security source told Reuters Turabi's detention may have been related to his alleged links to the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Turabi denies any link.

Also, in other news, Reuters reported that Sudan's Supreme Court ordered a re-run of a state assembly election in Red Sea state after an opposition group sent in a video that appeared to show officials stuffing ballot boxes, the National Elections Commission said on Sunday.

"The video was submitted to the court. They cancelled the elections and said they had to be repeated," said commission spokesman Abu Bakr Waziri. The video was originally posted on online video site YouTube.

Further details below.

Darfur / UNAMID Daily Media Brief 2010-05-17
From United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, May 17, 2010/APO:
Security situation in Darfur
The security situation in Darfur remains tense following reports on Friday 14 May of fighting in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, between the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Armed Forces, which claim to have killed over a hundred JEM fighters.

In addition, JEM forces have withdrawn from Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur. UNAMID patrols to the area have resumed and the Mission is planning a series of assessment missions to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps near Shangil Tobaya to verify the number of people who settled there after leaving New Shangil Tobaya camp last week.

Senegalese battalion advance party arrives in El Fasher
A two hundred-member advance party of a military battalion has arrived today in El Fasher, North Darfur, from Dakar, Senegal, to begin preparations for the deployment of the main body, expected to arrive in July.

The troops will be deployed in West Darfur, where they will be the second Senegalese battalion operating in the region. The peacekeepers will be tasked with patrolling villages and IDP camps as well as safeguarding the movements of aid organisations.

Senegal currently has contributed 826 troops and 161 police officers to the Mission. The new arrivals bring UNAMID’s total military force to 17,304 peacekeepers, representing over 88 percent of its authorized strength.

UNAMID Patrols
UNAMID military forces conducted 76 patrols including routine, short-range, long-range, night, and humanitarian escort patrols, covering 68 villages and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps during the reporting period.

UNAMID police advisors also conducted 126 patrols in villages and IDP camps.
Al-Turabi Arrested By Sudanese Authorities
From SRS (Sudan Radio Service) Monday, 17 May 2010:
(Khartoum) – Sudanese security agents have arrested the opposition Popular Congress Party leader Hassan al-Turabi and closed down his party's newspaper.

Armed officers detained Turabi in his Khartoum home late on Saturday and took him to Khartoum's Kober prison.
SRS spoke to Al-Turabi’s wife, Wisal Al-Mahdi, on Sunday. She described what happened.

[Wisal Al-Mahadi]: “They came at 11:30 p.m. and requested to meet Sheikh Hassan for interrogation but they didn’t have any documents. There was a Doshka and pickups with heavy weapons and a long column of security personnel in front of the house. The senior officer entered the house and we talked to him. Al-Turabi’s daughter chased him from the house, telling him that if he wants Sheikh Hassan he will come to them outside. He refused standing near the chair. Then he left. When we went outside the house, there were two Doshkas and all the roads were closed. They took Sheikh Hassan with his children and guards. They went to the political security department claiming they wanted to interrogate him. Then he was taken to Kober prison. They forbid him any food or drink except by permission from the security headquarters which is impossible to get these days, as the whole government is engaged with what is happening in Darfur.”

Wisal said Al-Turabi’s arrest is linked to the Darfur crisis.

[Wisal Al-Turabi]: “I think the government is thinking that we are helping our brothers in Darfur. The government has been killing our brothers in Darfur now for the last eight years. Nobody has managed to resolve this issue because they don’t want peaceful solutions - just military solutions. But they didn’t succeed because the International Criminal Court has been monitoring them. That is why al-Bashir is being investigated. I am afraid they will transfer him to another place so as to distance him from his family.”

Wisal Al-Mahdi, al-Turabi’s wife was speaking to SRS on Sunday.
Opposition supporters demonstrate in Khartoum

Photo: Opposition supporters demonstrate against the arrest of Popular Congress Party leader Hassan al-Turabi outside his party's headquarters in Khartoum May 16, 2010. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudan security close opposition party paper
From Reuters (Reporting by Andrew Heavens, Khaled Abdelaziz and Opheera McDoom; Editing by Jon Boyle) - Monday, 17 May 2010 - excerpt:
* Security says Turabi "summoned" for questioning
* Court orders vote re-run after YouTube "fraud" film

Early on Sunday, security officers raided Turabi's party newspaper Rai Al-Shaab and arrested several journalists, senior officials from his Popular Congress Party (PCP) told reporters.

A security source told Reuters Turabi's detention may have been related to his alleged links to the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which has clashed with Sudan's army over the past week. Turabi denies any link.

Separately, Sudan's Supreme Court ordered a re-run of a state assembly election in Red Sea state after an opposition group sent in a video that appeared to show officials stuffing ballot boxes, the National Elections Commission said on Sunday.

"The video was submitted to the court. They cancelled the elections and said they had to be repeated," said commission spokesman Abu Bakr Waziri. The video was originally posted on online video site YouTube.
Suspended newspaper Al Rai Al Shab not part of Journalist Union
From MirayaFM - Monday, 17 May 2010:
The Chairman of the Sudanese Journalist Union, Mahi el-Din Titawi, said that Al Rai Al Shab newspaper faced a publication suspension because the newspaper rejected regulations issued by the Journalist Union according to the Press Charter. Titawi stated that because the newspaper is not part of the Journalist Union, other institutions will interfere under the premise of protecting general safety and security.
Sudan: Election fraud caught on video?
From Global Voices - 22 April 2010 by Ndesanjo Macha:
A video showing election fraud in Sudan is being circulated online. Sudan's National Elections Commission has dismissed it as fake. The video shows election officials stuffing ballot boxes. Opposition groups claim that the video proves their claims of election rigging by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Full story.
News from SRS - Sudan Radio Service:
17-May-2010


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